For many players of the long-anticipated sci-fi exploration game No Man’s Sky–released on PlayStation 4 today, with the PC release later this week–the first few hours are a little overwhelming. The game’s UI is not very intuitive, and there’s a lot of information thrown at you early on, when it can be difficult to contextualize and retain it. So here are a few tips to help you have a little more fun in your first few hours.
Head for the green question marks first
These are unidentified areas of interest identified by your scanner, and they almost always contain useful materials, ship parts or upgrades, and save points. They sometimes provide opportunities to upgrade your suit (for a fee) or learn an alien language. And they’re often surrounded by the basic resources you need to survive (plutonium, carbon, iron etc.).
Keep a pile of plutonium handy
You start the game stranded on a random planet, and have to collect specific resources in order to repair your ship before you can leave the planet. Unfortunately, the planet is toxic to humans, which means that as you explore looking for resources and cataloging your discoveries, you’re constantly in survival mode.
The first rule is of staying alive is to keep your life support charged; without life support, you’ll die. A few different resources can be used to re-charge your life support, but plutonium is worth the most (in case you have some left over that you want to sell), and you’ll need some plutonium on your ship to charge your thrusters before you can take off. So be sure to stockpile it as you explore.
Fortunately, it’s plentiful on starting planets, especially in caves–just look for the lighting bolt symbol on your scanner.
Kill the sentry bots for their titanium
To survive in the toxic environment, you also need to keep your Hazard Suit charged to filter out environmental toxins, and you’ll need zinc, a Shielding Shard, or titanium for that. It can be difficult to find zinc (more on that below), and a Shielding Shard has to be crafted–but titanium can be obtained by simply killing the nearest sentry bot.
Most of the time the sentry bots flying around the planet will ignore you, and when you fight them on a starter planet, they’re fairly easy to kill. The trick is to kill all of the sentry bots in sight, and not to let one get away to call for reinforcements. This is fairly easy to do, however, since there’s usually only a few of them traveling together at the same time, and they’re not exactly killing machines in the early part of the game.
Harvest zinc from a yellow flower on the surface (not in caves)
And no, you’re not crazy if you haven’t been able to find any. Many players (including me) have had a really hard time finding any zinc on our starting planet, depending entirely on where you spawn in–I spent two hours walking around before I finally came across some, long after I’d collected all the other necessary resources. If you can’t find any zinc near you, just start walking towards more landmarks and points of interest and you’ll find some eventually. Zinc flowers take different shapes on different planets, but they’re all yellow and on the surface. You can also sometimes get zinc from the poop of local animals, after you feed them.
Use your inventory wisely
Your Exosuit inventory will fill up fairly quickly, so you’ll want to transfer as much as you can to your ship’s inventory as you go along. Fortunately, the devs have made it easy to teleport your inventory to the ship with just the press of a button–as long as you’re still in range of your ship. Depending on where you are on the planet–in a cave, or underwater–you can suddenly find yourself out of range and stuck with just your Exosuit inventory space, so plan accordingly.
Also be aware that each inventory slot is assigned one type of resource–iron, carbon, plutonium etc.–and that slot can hold multiple units of the same resource without taking up more space, so you might as well stock up until you hit the cap!
Spam your scanner, and use your visor to tag the floral and fauna
This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget in the beginning: scan continuously for new resources as you walk, and stop to tag any new wildlife you come across–you get intergalactic money for every new species you discover. You just have to live long enough to be able to spend it.